"If you focus on consequences, you aren't going to perform very well," said
Ravens coach Brian Billick, whose players are parroting his mantra of launching
a supposed 14-game regular season with a fresh start this weekend. "You have to
free your mind up from it. You're cognizant of it. You recognize what the
obligations are as a professional and what your record means.
"If you focus on that, you might as well not show up in the game because you can't play this game fearful. If you're playing a game fearful of the negatives, you have no chance at all."
All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis was emphatic that he feels no extra pressure to win this game even though Baltimore is in last place in the AFC North and trails the Cincinnati Bengals by 2 ½ games.
"If you're thinking that far, that's too much thinking," Lewis said. "I don't worry about 0-3 and all that. If I'm worried about 0-3 and trying to tackle Curtis Martin at the same time, I'm playing the wrong game.
"I don't see pressure. On Sundays, there's going to be a better team than the other one. It just so happens that on the first two Sundays, we weren't the better team. If you go 11-3 in the next 14, you've done a hell of a job."
ROSTER MOVES: Veteran kicker Matt Stover can take a break from kickoffs now that the Ravens have signed kickoff specialist Aaron Elling upon special teams coach Gary Zauner's recommendation. Elling has a reputation for having a strong leg.
"It's a thrill to be here," said Elling, who scored 102 points in 2003 for the Minnesota Vikings. "I've known Gary since I was coming out of high school and this is a great opportunity for me to learn from him and Matt Stover."
Besides waiving linebacker Jim Nelson from the active roster, the Ravens terminated rookie kicker Robbie Gould from the practice squad. Baltimore signed rookie linebacker Dennis Haley (Virginia), who was previously with the Jets. The Ravens tried out defensive backs Jonte Buhl (Texas A&M) and Brandon Haw (Rutgers), but they weren't signed.
TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens are healthy coming out of the bye except for quarterback Kyle Boller, who remains out with a hyperextended right big toe. Boller is expected to be in a cast until the end of the week and then undergo two to three weeks of rehabilitation.
Besides the dreadful quarterback situation with Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler sidelined with shoulder injuries, the Jets have ruled out linebacker Eric Barton (Maryland) and fullback B.J. Askew with ankle injuries.
Offensive tackle Jason Fabini (knee) is questionable. Defensive end Shaun Ellis (knee), linebacker Trevor Johnson (head), defensive tackle James Reed (shoulder) and fullback Jerald Sowell (ankle) are probable.
LACK OF PROGRESS: It's been another slow start for last year's draft class.
Wide receiver Clarence Moore (a sixth-round pick) leads the team with three dropped passes, dropping one more than he has caught in two starts.
"I think he just needs a little confidence," quarterback Anthony Wright said of Moore, who has two receptions for 36 yards. "He definitely has the potential to be a very good receiver. He's had a couple of bad situations, and I think he's going to come around.
"It may be that we need to get him in the game early to get his momentum and confidence going."
Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (a second-round pick) was inactive for each of the first two games after registering four tackles last season.
Wide receiver Devard Darling (a third-round pick) is only just now fully healthy after injuring his quadriceps, but he's unlikely to see action for the third game in a row.
A lone bright spot: rush end Rod Green (a fifth-round pick) has the Ravens' lone sack.
LAST YEAR: The Ravens' dramatic 20-17 overtime win over the Jets last season in the Meadowlands was unusual because they were extremely shorthanded without punter Dave Zastudil, cornerback Chris McAlister, offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden.
The Ravens managed to win the game with reserve cornerbacks Corey Fuller and Ray Walls and quarterback Kordell Stewart filled in as an emergency punter.
"We overcame it, so that's the lesson to impart to my guys," Billick said. "Not that they need to bring anymore intensity and focus to the game. Don't get caught up in the circumstances of the other team. That message was lived in reverse for us last year."
QUOTABLE: Cornerback Samari Rolle on the Ravens' 17th-ranked defense: "Not good enough. We are still winless, so obviously we have not been good enough. We just need to make more plays and get off the field and then everything else will take care of itself."
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the
original on RavensInsider.Com